The frozen wedding gowns were able to stand on their own after employees poured buckets of water on them outside while they were dressed on mannequins. Employees then removed the mannequin pieces from inside the dresses.

The frozen wedding gowns were able to stand on their own after employees poured buckets of water on them outside while they were dressed on mannequins. Employees then removed the mannequin pieces from inside the dresses.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Berkley bridal gown shop showcases frozen wedding dresses

By: Mike Koury | Metro | Published February 22, 2021

  Michelle McFarland and Shawn Vilk pose for a picture by one of The Wedding Shoppe’s frozen bridal gowns that stands outside the business on Coolidge Highway in Berkley.

Michelle McFarland and Shawn Vilk pose for a picture by one of The Wedding Shoppe’s frozen bridal gowns that stands outside the business on Coolidge Highway in Berkley.

Photo by Deb Jacques

 A look inside one of the frozen dresses shows it has collected some  snow since it was first  displayed outside.

A look inside one of the frozen dresses shows it has collected some snow since it was first displayed outside.

Photo by Deb Jacques

BERKLEY — A bridal gown shop in downtown Berkley has been getting a lot of notice recently for a very cool reason.

Amid the cold weather and freezing temperatures, several wedding dresses stand frozen in place on the sidewalk outside of The Wedding Shoppe, 2186 Coolidge Highway, south of Catalpa Drive.

This special artistic showcase of bridal gowns came from an idea pitched by a bridal stylist at the shop, Shawn Vilk. She said she saw a picture on Facebook of homes in Minnesota that had frozen pairs of jeans out front, which inspired her to go to her boss, Michelle McFarland, to do the same thing but with their wedding dresses.

Though it originally was pitched as something of a joke, McFarland was excited to go ahead with the idea.

“I really just thought she was going to (laugh) … but she was like, ‘Oh my god, we absolutely have to do this,’” Vilk said.

The Wedding Shoppe staff began brainstorming how they were going to pull off the feat. After several workshops, they decided to freeze the dresses over mannequins and then remove the mannequins after the dresses froze.

Vilk said it also took a few hours for them to figure out what dresses they were going to use and how they were going to portray them once they were standing up.

“We were starting from scratch because we know the materials, how they work under regular conditions, but (now) we have them frozen,” she said. “It was really fun. It was a really fun process. I kind of went back and forth for a little bit on just how we were going to do it.”

To actually freeze the dresses, they kept pouring buckets of water on the dresses while they were outside to let the fabric freeze. McFarland said the weather outside has to be below 30 degrees for them to stay frozen. Whenever the temperature begins to rise above that is when the dresses will come down.

On the state of the dresses, McFarland, with a laugh, said that they’re now ruined.

“We knew that was going to be the case and we were fine with it,” she said. “We’ve got lots of dresses that have outlived their usefulness. One of them was just an older style that was too damaged because it had been tried on so many times that we had had it in storage, and the others we felt would look good out there and we could sacrifice them.”

Vilk said the whole process was well worth it, as the attention they received after putting up the dresses had people calling the shop to see whether they were still outside.

“It was a challenge and we were so stoked by the attention,” she said. “It was just a celebration of winter, just having fun with it and having some fun with some gowns.”

While it’s unknown now if the new attention will help increase business for The Wedding Shoppe, McFarland said it’s possible those who came by will remember them and, when they get engaged, come back to buy a dress.

“We just thought it was such a cool idea, to give people driving by something really fun to see,” she said. “Right now, everybody always needs a little extra cheering up. So we thought it would just be a fun thing for the community to see.”